Kailah Bharath and Marijke Large are the co-creators of Syzygy, a Toronto-based event series with the purpose of connecting women across Toronto. These gatherings happen in a real-life, device-free setting where genuine communication can flourish. Their next event, Let it Out: Art, Zines, and Identity, happens this Saturday, April 7.
We chatted with Kailah and Marijke this week.
SDTC: Why did you want to focus on identity for this installment of Syzygy?
K&M: Identity is one of the cornerstones of Syzygy. The world syzygy is actually loosely defined as “a union of opposites,” and this is how we refer to our community. From the beginning, we’ve always stated that there is no single narrative to define what it means to be a woman. We’re multifaceted. We’re diverse. We’re intersectional. We are really intentional about embracing multiple perspectives within a women-centred community.
For this event, we wanted to unpack identity even more through the lens of art. Art is all about expression and identity. We’ve invited multidisciplinary artists to speak to their own experiences and help us collectively unpack what being a woman means to each of us.
Can you describe your personal journey in identity exploration?
Since the start of our friendship, we have been talking about identity and where we find our value as women. Kailah is a woman of colour who often finds it challenging to deal with intersections of her own identity. Truthfully, it can be exhausting when you’re constantly battling multiple false perceptions or assumptions about who you are based on your skin colour, cultural background and gender. That’s why the community is so important to us. It’s important to have space for these conversations and to find strength from other women’s stories and experiences.
Marijke’s personal journey of discovering and “legitimizing” her experience as a non-visible disabled woman is an uncomfortable and necessary process. As a white woman, she also recognizes she has a shit ton of privilege in female-centred community spaces.
Syzygy is a space to unpack this complexity and art is a badass way to explore identity. We’re not visual artists but love the accessible nature of zines as a medium to allow folks to explore this.
Why is it important for us dig deeper into discovering who we are?
It’s so important to know who you are. Women are so often written about, policed and defined by mainstream media—it’s essential that we reclaim our identities for ourselves. We’ve watched our grandmothers and mothers sacrifice aspects of who they are because of societal expectations. Through a community like ours, we hope to continue to push for progress and create space for women to step into the fullness of who they are.
What can participants expect from Let it Out?
At Let it Out, you can expect to find a warm and inviting space reverberating badass female energy. Syzygy gatherings are intentionally intimate and feel like you’re in someone’s living room. Our programming includes a live performance, panel discussion, zine workshop, and networking activities to facilitate genuine connections and open conversation. We’ll be serving appetizers and unlimited drinks and giving away a few prizes and swag bags throughout the evening.
The Let it Out panel + zine workshop runs this Saturday from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at LOVT Studio (888 Dupont St.) Get tickets here.